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October 23, 2018

5 Tips for Creating Great Political Mail

If you are running a political campaign, you need to be using direct mail. Sure, radio and television ads are great for reaching a wide audience, but they are not necessarily great for reaching the specific target audience most likely to vote for you. Likewise, email is powerful, especially for campaign follow-ups and ongoing communications, but it’s not great for building name recognition or delivering primary messaging. For political campaigns, direct mail remains critical.

Direct mail has a role in political campaigns that other channels simply don’t.  For example,

  • It doesn’t get caught in spam filters.
  • It cannot be blocked with “do not contact lists.”
  • It reaches the full spectrum of your audience.

There are still pockets of voters who don’t have Internet access, receive mail on their phones, and use social media. But everyone gets mail.  Furthermore, digital advertising creates a lot of noise. Direct mail gets past that noise and in front of your intended audience.  You need to be using both.

Direct mail also allows you to target your audience with laser-like precision. Using voting records, demographic data, and personas, you can target not only your own voters, but those of your opponents, too!

Say you are ready to develop your next political mail campaign. How do you make the most of it?

  1. Stick to the theme. Do you have a campaign theme? If so, what is it? Increase name identification? Talk about issues? Provide negatives on the other candidate? Don’t try to cover it all. Pick a single theme and drive it home.
  2. Design it to be skimmed. It has been said that political mail needs to be designed to be read on the way to the trash can. Especially if you are using postcards, you can communicate key points even as the recipient is headed to the recycling bin. Use graphics, lots of white space, and bullet points that communicate lots of information quickly.
  3. Hit the high points. Even if recipients never read the full contents of the message, you can still get the most critical points across. Highlight your name, the office for which you are running, and the campaign theme.
  4. Be graphic. You may have three seconds (or less), so maximize the opportunity. Communicate as much information in graphics and visual elements as possible. If you use text, keep it tight. It has been said that any more than three main points and you lose your audience.
  5. Think “branding.” Regardless of channel, be consistent in your use of logos, brand colors, and fonts. Over time, people will recognize your campaign just like any other brand.

Of course, there are other tips, as well. Adjust your message based on the timing of current issues or news events. Repeat your message early and often. Use multiple, integrated channels to stay in front of your audience over time.

Don’t forget the importance of the PostScript.  Studies show this is the most read part of any letter. If recipients don’t read anything else, they read that. They also read captions on charts or photographs.  Use these hidden gems well!

Overall, political mail is a critical part of any campaign. Not every candidate knows the tricks of the trade or uses this channel to its full advantage. Why not be on of those who does? We can help.


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